October 17 – The Great Quake of ’89

Here is my annual post about the earthquake that I experienced in the Bay Area on this day in 1989. Many of you may remember this as the World Series earthquake, as it happened just before a World Series Game between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. A lot of you may have seen this post already, but I know there are a lot of new people too, so I’ll repost this.

summaryOctober 17, 1989 at 5:04 pm was a time that I will never forget. With no exaggeration, I thought that was going to be the last day of my life. That was the day of the Great Quake of ’89, or as it is formally known as – the Loma Prieta earthquake. Or if I mention it these days, I say that is the earthquake that happened during the World Series, and then it rings a bell to people who lived outside of California’s Bay Area.

Today is the 29th anniversary of the earthquake. It was on a Tuesday that year. At the time, I was working at the Oakland Naval Hospital as a cook. My hours were 4:30am-6:30pm. I was looking forward to watching game 3 of the World Series after work. It was a huge deal in that area as both teams were local – the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s.

Then at 5:04, as I was walking through the kitchen getting ready to clean up, it sounded like there was a train quietly rumbling towards us. The sound was getting louder and louder, and then I could feel the building start to shake. Then the hospital started shaking more and more violently. It was starting to shake so much, that I had to hold myself up against a big metal table. There was a row of ovens (empty) behind me, and their doors were falling open. Then it felt like the whole ground was going to crumble apart under my feet, and the whole hospital was going to collapse on top of us. It was dinner time, so there were quite a few people in the cafeteria, and several people screamed. After what felt like an eternity, the shaking slowed to a stop. The earthquake lasted around 15 seconds, but I could swear that it was really 15 minutes. When everything became still, there were actually some people who actually cheered. I don’t know if they were cheering because we were all still in one piece, or if they were just sick and cheered as if it was an amusement park ride. Not too long after, there was an aftershock that was even worse than some earthquakes. A lot of people freaked out and screamed again. But that only lasted for a split second. I remember that there were still aftershocks occurring a few weeks after the earthquake

We put on whatever radios we could find, and we found out that a part of the Bay Bridge collapsed, and that the Cypress Freeway had collapsed. Then we got news that we may be getting a lot of patients brought to our hospital. All the corpsmen and doctors and nurses had to be called in. While we were waiting for them to come in, some of us cooks got a quick training on how to carry a stretcher so we could bring patients in from an ambulance. We waited outside and listened to the news come in about all of the damage. Only one ambulance came in while I was waiting, and I didn’t have to carry the person in. Things could have been much worse. The highways that had collapsed normally would have been bumper to bumper with cars and trucks. But since it was near game time for the World Series, there were a lot of people who were either at the game at Candlestick Park, or they had left work early, or they were staying late to have parties at work. 63 people died, and 3,757 were injured.
I left work around 12:30 am and got home around 1:00 am. This was at a time when people did not really have cell phones, and my family was on the East Coast. So, it was 4:00 am on the East when I got home, and I was debating whether I should call my family at that hour. I decided that I better, and it was a good decision. My mother answered the phone on the first ring!

This was a day that I will never forget as long as I live.

Here is the beginning of the televised portion of the World Series:

Here is a news clip of the Cypress Freeway collapse:

And here is the Bay Bridge:

People were trapped in the rubble of the Cypress Freeway, and there were rescue efforts for days. On October 21, 4 days after the quake, a survivor was found. His name was Buck Helms. “Lucky Buck”, as the media dubbed him, was freed from the wreckage, having spent 90 hours trapped in his crushed car under the rubble. Unfortunately, he died 29 days later from respiratory failure at the age of 57.

It took years for the area to rebuild. And to this day, there is still some rebuilding going on in the area from this disaster.

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Remember That Song – 10/17/19

Can you name the artist and song:

It’s a tragedy for me to see the dream is over
And I never will forget the day we met


Last Song: “Be Near Me” by ABC from the album How To Be A Zillionaire (1985)

Great job Adora (@Adora2000), Martin (@mcmaenza), and Michael (@Perry4Pros)!!!

Ever had that feeling, almost broke in two
Said that you were leaving, like you do

If you’d like to get this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

Quote of the Day: Baby Jessica

Jessica McClure, Steven Forbes

Here she comes! There’s clapping.
Jessica McClure is up. She’s alive. What a fighter!

Rescuer Running with Baby Jessica

32 years ago today (October 16, 1987), we were all glued to our TV sets watching Baby Jessica being rescued from a well. The 18 month old Jessica McClure fell into a well in her aunt’s backyard in Midland, Texas on October 14, 1987. The well was 8 inches wide and 22 feet deep. Rescuers worked for 56 hours to free her.

Remember That Song – 10/16/19

Can you name the artist and song:

Ever had that feeling, almost broke in two
Said that you were leaving, like you do


Last Song: “Let Me Be The One” by Exposé from the album Exposure (1987)

Only you can make me feel brand new
I can feel it in my heart, your love is true

If you’d like to get this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

Remember That Song – 10/15/19

Can you name the artist and song:

Only you can make me feel brand new
I can feel it in my heart, your love is true


Last Song: “Real Love” by The Doobie Brothers from the album One Step Closer (1980)

Great job Richard (@RichardAnsara) and David (@daviddwwalker)!!!

Tell me I’m the only man
That you ever really loved
Honey, take me back
Deep in my memory

If you’d like to get this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

Remember That Song – 10/14/19

Can you name the artist and song:

Tell me I’m the only man
That you ever really loved
Honey, take me back
Deep in my memory


Last Song: “The Warrior” by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth from the album Warrior (1984)

Great job Richard (@RichardAnsara) and Adora (@Adora2000)!!!

Break out of captivity
And follow me, stereo jungle child
Love is the kill, your heart’s still wild

If you’d like to get this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

Remember That Song – 10/11/19

Can you name the artist and song:

Break out of captivity
And follow me, stereo jungle child
Love is the kill, your heart’s still wild

Last Song: “Love Walks In” by Van Halen from the album 5150 (1986)

Great job Paul (@PaulRidley5), Nigel (@WBAnigel), and Jim (@JimVilk)!!!

Another world, some other time
You lay your sanity on the line

If you’d like to get this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

80's Pop Culture and News

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